* Mindful Yoga, Living and Meditation

For this New Year, some of you may be considering setting the intention of meditating every day. In my experience, even with the best of intentions, many people start, and then stop with a daily sitting practice. Some will come back to it, and some will give it up completely.

So I decided to write a post about an alternative approach. I found inspiration in “Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life” by Charlotte Bell. Here, she bridges the gap between meditation, mindful living and yoga.

being mindful

“The practice of yoga in all its aspects allows us to connect with and dwell in awareness, our essential being…

Mindfulness is the thread that connects all aspects of yoga practice. When we give our full attention to what we are doing, we become that which is present in our experience…

When we live our lives Β mindfully, we live in fullness; there is no leftover residue of regret for missed opportunities.

… Mindfulness is most commonly practiced in sitting and walking meditation. If you can sit quietly for even a few minutes every day watching the flow of your breath, you will begin to strengthen the power of your mind. But mindfulness practice needn’t be confined to formal meditation.

In his book “The Miracle in Mindfulness”, Thich Nhat Hanh writes about “washing the dishes to wash the dishes”, instead of washing the dishes in order to get the cup of tea you will have afterwards. Viewed with careful attention, the experience of dishwashing yields a surprising richness of sensation – the feeling of warm, sudsy water, the smoothness and weight of the plates in your hands, the movement of scrubbing and rinsing. Any activity can become a wondrous and sacred ritual if we pay attention.

… You might begin the practice of mindful living by choosing one activity that you already do everyday. Commit to be completely present Β in this activity.”

mindful dishwashing

What could you commit to bringing new awareness to every day?
It could be washing the dishes, washing your hands, opening the front door, showering, taking a walk, or enjoying a cup of tea. It can be any activity that you take for granted, enjoy or perhaps even resist.
Its your choice. The activity that you choose does not matter as much as the care and respect you bring to it.

I’d like to share some of my daily rituals with you:
First thing in the morning, I wash my hands with beautiful scented lavender soap.
When I open the back door I take a deep breath and really feel the outside morning with all my senses.
I have a mindfulness app called Chakra Chime that goes off at 8am and 1pm. When it does, I stop what I am doing and take a moment to scan my thoughts, emotional state, my breath and my body.
When I stop at a red light, I pause and notice my breath (Still working on that one when I run late!)
When the light stays green as I approach it I say in my mind Thank You Universe. In class, as I come into mountain pose, I look down at my feet and say out loud Thank You Feet!

Committing to being mindful is a serious commitment to finding peace of mind, but it needn’t be serious!

Namaste

56 responses to “* Mindful Yoga, Living and Meditation

    • Thanks Paul. The chime alarm works well because I don’t need to remember. There are many apps out there now to encourage meditation and being mindful of our thoughts, breath etc. xo

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  1. This is lovely, Val. Several years ago, I started practicing mindfulness while cleaning my home. I love the reference to dishwashing. That’s what makes the difference! Seeing and feeling so much in each moment is the gift. Miracles all around! What you’ve offered here makes mindfulness and meditation all the more accessible! πŸ™‚

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  2. I may have mentioned this previously, but a little mindfulness trigger I use is this Val: Every time I go to open a door, or open a cupboard, or pull a drawer, I do so with total attention on the physicality. For example, noting the arm move forward to grip the door handle, noting the pressure and temperature changes as it does so, noting the rotation feeling extend upwards from the wrist through to the shoulder as the handle is turned, noting the air temperature change on my skin and in my nostrils as the door is drawn towards me. I find this trigger works very well because there are so many of such little moments in a day, and we can give our attention to them fully with ease on every occasion. H ❀

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  3. Thank you for this today. I seem to slip in and out of mindfulness. One of my problems is my mind often “writes” while I’m doing mundane tasks…I shouldn’t complain though because it has given me some great opening lines for projects. My most mindfulness is nature walking.

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    • I love bringing mindful awareness to my walls too Suzi! Bringing attention to the most mundane can be quite surprising, and entertaining ☺️ Thanks for sharing xo

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  4. I was really amazed when I entered this journey just how many times…how many things I did in a day that I paid absolutely no mind to. Some things were small…and then there were times I would completely miss 3 miles while driving!! No awareness at all during those miles…and that is/was very scary to me. I love your post, Val. And I continue to work on being in the moment…really showing up…being present….every single day. Much love to you β™‘

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  5. I like the thought of starting small at more easily assimilated rituals, as moments will add up. My morning tea is in quiet thought, looking outside, sitting in the sun if there is any(!). My pets are good ‘guardians of being’ as Eckhard Tolle calls them. Whenever one of them approaches me (which is often!) I stop what I am doing and give them my full attention, appreciating everything about them, thanking them for being in my life. I need to do this more with the people in my life (I do it, just not as often). Chatter can be very distracting! πŸ˜‰

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  6. Such an important post on mindfulness. It seems so simple…yet. You have a lovely blog, and I’ve seen your comments so many times on some of my favorites, Val. I was long overdue to take a look here…and what a delight it is. Thank you. πŸ’– Van

    p.s. My daughter gave up a promising tech career to study and teach yoga. It came from a conversation about “what would you really like to do with your life? ” as I was taking her to the train back to NYC. I’m very proud of her. ☺

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    • So glad you enjoyed it Carol! Start small and keep going – simply becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings and body as you go about your daily. It has changed my life for good! (Pun intended πŸ˜‰

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  7. Wonderful simple reminders here Val of Mindfulness.. I loved them.. πŸ™‚ I put bird seeds out in the morning.. and watch from my kitchen window as I wash dishes and prepare meals, The Wonder of Nature … and I am blessed by many birds visiting..
    Loved this post.. and yes there are many ways we can meditate without sitting in silence.. πŸ™‚
    Love and Blessings and have a great rest of your day/evening.. Sue ❀

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  8. Thanks for this most excellent & useful post, Val. Many good suggestions here. I was thinking lately about forgetfulness. I am not forgetful (or becoming more so), I am must not paying adequate attention to the boring day-to-day activities. Hmmm, I think I see a miraculous cure coming on.

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  9. Fantastic piece. I mix yoga and meditation regularly. They are such different practices and yet yield very similar, centering, calming results. I have been working at mindful hiking, too, which is again, wholly different and yet produces that same extraordinary connected feeling. I’m less good at mindful eating, which would be so good for me, but that piece of chocolate is gone before I’ve even remembered I meant to savor it. Wonderful read, my friend.

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  10. Wonderful post, Val! I loved learning about your rituals. I’ve always had my walks, but now that I am very busy and can’t go out as often, I will need some simpler ones to focus on. Thank you!

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  11. Val I love this post, for someone like me meditation is has always been the challenging part of yoga. But as I age I am getting better at it, although I do not do it every day. But when I take my morning walk I am mindful of every step I take, grounding my feet and thoughts, like I am connected to the earth. I am thankful for every day and just breathe in the serenity of the dawn. I love your morning rituals and how you open the door and take a deep breath in. I guess the more I practice, I may get there. I also enrolled in the next Deepak Chopra’s online seminar β€œSacred Momentum: The Divine Method to Creating Your Best Year Yet. I enjoyed the meditation seminar last year too.

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